From March 2011
I think one of the most difficult parts of being a parent for me is
dealing with 3 kids who have tunnel vision. They only see events and
circumstances in terms of how it affects them, which is often at odds
with the overall big picture for the family. Most of the time they just
can't seem to grasp that the plans and decisions my husband and I make
for them are not some master scheme to make their lives more difficult
and less fun, but are truly part of something bigger and better for them
in the long run. They complain and whine and argue more than I ever
thought any children of mine ever would. Seriously, those kinds of kids
were the products of bad parenting and uninvolved parents, right?
Which brings me to my Bible reading for today. My new Bible has a
reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs
every day, and each of the passages for today all pointed to stories of
misinformed, bad judgment making, often whiny people who made bad
decisions because they didn't see the bigger picture--that life is not
all about them.
The Old Testament story was from the book called Numbers. It tells of a
time when Moses and the Isrealites have been away from Egypt for over a
year, but still not in the Promised Land that they were headed toward.
God had been using this time to give very specific details and
instructions about what He required from each of His people, because He
knew that they had to be prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually
for when they actually went to the Promised Land, otherwise they would
accept and follow the customs of the people who were already there.
Th0se people had their own ideas about gods and worship, which did not
include the true God. God, knowing the big picture, was getting them
ready. But the Isrealites, what did they do? They complained. A lot.
Today the complaint was about not having meat. "Oh, Moses. We are so
hungry! We never have anything good like we used to--fish, onions,
melons. You know, when we had it so good and easy in Egypt (You know,
when we were SLAVES!). All we have is manna, manna, manna--all day
long." Even Moses got in on the complaining: "Why me, God? Why do I
have to deal with these whiny people? I don't know why you have made
them MY problem, God. Can't you just give them meat and be done with
it?". My reading ended with God about to go off. Seriously, had Moses
never heard the story of Job? It's supposed to be the oldest recorded
story in the Bible, happening long before Moses was even born. Did
he not know that there are times when it is best to just back off? And,
for that matter, why have my kids not learned the same thing about me
The next reading is one of the saddest in the whole Bible for me. Jesus
has been telling His disciples for several days that He is about to be
killed, but they aren't getting it. They happen to be having a meal
when a lady comes in and breaks a jar of expensive perfume and pours it
on Jesus. I mean, picture it: meals were definitely segregated by
gender at that time, and in busts this girl (reportedly a 'bad girl' at
that) who starts pouring stuff all over one of the men. There is a lot
of symbolism and backstory here, but the focus is on Judas's reaction.
He wasn't the only one that was angry. Several others went off on the
lady, basically calling the whole thing wasteful and inappropriate.
Judas took the stance that it was a waste of money and that it could
have been sold and the money given to the poor. I've heard several
commentators say that Judas probably really meant this, and wasn't just
being goody-goody. He was the disciple in charge of the group's money,
which probably meant he was the most trustworthy of the twelve, so he
would be the one with the most insight as to their finances and
responsibilities. He knew that the Passover was the next day and that
there wasn't even any money to cover a place to have the meal together,
much less the mandatory food involved. By the way, Jesus took care of
that problem just a few verses later...
So, this is the breaking point for Judas. He leaves that meal and
immediately goes to turn Jesus in. This latest scene is just further
proof for Judas that Jesus is not who He says He is, and that He has
lost His mind. When I was little, I just thought of Judas as the bad
guy in this story. The older I get, though, I see this disillusioned
man who truly loved Jesus and believed in His vision--up to a point.
When Jesus's teaching became too impractical, he just couldn't follow
through. This is the lure of and disillision of money. We can become
so imprisoned to it that we lose sight of what really matters in God's
economy, an economy that makes no sense in a world focused on 'stuff'
instead of people and relationships. I don't think Judas was money or
power hungry. I think he just didn't see the big picture, only his
perception of it.
And then there is David.. King David. He decided that he didn't have
enough wives and concubines to satisfy his needs when he noticed a lady
named Bathsheba. The problem was that Bathsheba was already married.
Well, I guess it wasn't too big of a problem for David, because he
brought her over anyway, and when she came up pregnant, he just had her
husband killed. David had lived a life full of God's presence and
provision, and truly loved Him, but at this point had become too big for
his own britches, so to speak. He had forgotten that there are
boundaries that God had placed on his life, until God sent a man named
Nathan to remind him. This Psalm is one of my favorites, because it
shows David's brokenness about what all he has done, and his need for
God to make him right again.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don't take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
I love that last line: and make me willing to obey you. David got it.
He had messed up and only God could make that right. He was restored.
Moses got it. It took him a little longer and he still didn't make the
wisest of decisions at times. He didn't get to see the Promised Land,
but he was restored. And Judas--well, this one is tragic. He did
betray Jesus, and the weight of it all caused him to kill himself. He
couldn't get past what he had done, and didn't believe God enough to
know that he could have been restored, too.
Three stories. Three different outcomes. All serve as reminders and
examples that only God has the big picture in mind, and even when I
don't understand the circumstances, He's got my back and wants what is
best for me. Maybe my kids aren't the only ones with tunnel vision
(taken from Numbers 11, Mark 14, and Psalm 51)